Our new guest blogger Luke gives us his take on the new Philly Sports Bar in Laureles.
Like most people who have lived in Medellin for a good amount of time, I avoid Parque Lleras and El Poblado at all costs. However, finding a bar that plays American sports can be tough if you want to get out of Poblado. I have often had to settle for watching events in Lleras at bars such as Hooters or Patrick’s. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with Lleras, or said bars, I simply prefer to be in a bar with lots of people, affordable drinks, and a warm atmosphere in a spot not overrun by tourists.
To my delight, I stumbled upon Philly Sports Bar. Located in Laureles, Philly Sports Bar sits just off of La 70 and is easily visible from its striking neon sign.
Retired Philadelphian Settles in Medellin
Coming from Philadelphia myself, I was thrilled to meet owner Bill Buck. As a native Philadelphian, Buck is direct, honest and kind. When it comes to bars and nightlife, Buck is a seasoned veteran. He owned and operated different bars in Philadelphia before initially retiring in the Dominican Republic. After spending several years there enjoying his retirement, Buck was looking for a change. He sailed with a friend to Cartagena and spent time roaming around Colombia. He eventually visited Medellin, then became a regular traveler, and finally decided that Medellin was the right spot to continue living in Latin America.
Though he loves his retirement, Buck was presented with an opportunity to open a new and exciting bar in Medellin. Given his extensive history and experience in the nightlife industry, his management of Philly Sports Bar is second nature. This is evident from the moment you walk in the door.
Philly Sports Bar sits in an absolutely prime location at Calle 41A #70-42, right off of “the 70” in Laureles and is easily accessible by all means of transportation. The street is well lit and is about a 10-minute walk from the metro. The 70 is a safe sector of Laureles, and Philly Sports bar is located on a lively, but a bit calmer, street. This works to its benefit, as there are rarely many street vendors who try to peddle you goods on the sidewalk.
Walking up the steps and into the bar, I was greeted with an extremely kind “Hey man, what’s up?” I was taken aback, as every time I go to bars in Colombia I have been spoken to in Spanish.
Though I speak Spanish, it was comforting to hear English. I was impressed with how well decorated the bar was, there were Colombian and Philadelphian sports jerseys hanging on the wall, and nestled between two giant flat screens was a clean, well-organized and well- stocked bar. There is traditional seating at the bar, but also tables. The coolest part of the bar, in my opinion, is a back lounge area, with a statue of a Buddha, and a deck made of stones. It had such a great vibe. Also, there is a balcony at the front of the bar overlooking the street.
Friendly Service and Affordable Prices
The head chef and bartender, Victor, gave me a big smile and asked what he could get me. I glanced at the menu and ordered the cheese steak (obviously) and a drink. I was surprised at how affordable all the drinks were. Typically, going out in “gringo” bars in Medellin can be a reasonably pricey endeavor. Though the bar is owned by an American, prices for both drinks and food are affordable. For instance, a domestic Colombian beer such as Aguila will run you about 5 mil (5000 COP/$1.55). If you are craving an American beer, you’re in luck. Philly Sports Bar has Coors Light, Budweiser, and Miller.
Authentic Philly Cheese Steak!
Besides having affordable prices, Philly Sports Bar offers a very large menu of different types of food, all of which are affordable as well. As to be expected, they have traditional items such as wings and nachos. For the wings, sauces are made in-house. However, they also offer burritos, fajitas, pasta and more. But as a Philadelphian, I was on the search for a cheese steak—and boy did I find it!
Admittedly I was a bit nervous ordering a cheese steak anywhere else besides my home of Philadelphia, but Mr. Buck delivered. Not only was it authentic, it had its own unique, Medellin twist. Unlike at some restaurants near the Philly, this sandwich had tender, quality meat. It was hand-sliced thin and combined perfectly with the fresh bread and melted cheese. You can also choose from a variety of cheeses, but you can also order Cheese Wiz!
Philly Sports Bar is a wonderful place to go if you are craving American (or international) sports, affordable drink prices, and great food. Their staff goes out of their way to make you comfortable, often spending time chatting with customers. Philly Sports Bar is my new bar, and it should be yours, too.
Hours and Location
Calle 41A #70-42, Medellín (half a block from the 70)
Open 3pm – 12 midnight Monday to Saturday and 12 noon – 12 midnight on Sundays
This post was written in collaboration with Philly Sports Bar.
Luke is a freelance journalist and copywriter from Northern California. After graduating from university in the Philadelphia area, Luke immediately moved to Medellin, Colombia to study Spanish in preparation for his PhD program. Known affectionately as “chicharrónaldo” by his friends, Luke has a fondness for tattoos, breakfast burritos, and Seinfeld. Follow his misadventures on instagram @chicharronaldo and contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org